Pet Scoop: Granddad the Fish Marks 80 Years at Aquarium, Panda Cub Gets First Full Exam

Sept. 18, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Granddad is marking 80 years at the Shedd Aquarium.
Brenna Hernandez, Shedd Aquarium
Granddad is marking 80 years at the Shedd Aquarium.

Oldest Lungfish Ever Turns 80

The oldest known fish living in captivity celebrated a milestone on Tuesday — his 80th anniversary as a resident of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Granddad is an Australian lungfish who was brought to Chicago for the World’s Fair in 1933. Lungfish have one large lung, and gills. He was already full grown at that time, so his exact age is unknown. The 4-foot long, 20-pound fish indulged in a cake made of his favorite things, including peas and squash frozen together with krill and shrimp and other treats. “Everybody knows him and can pick him out,” said the Shedd’s Ken Ramirez. “The Australian government has certified him as the oldest lungfish ever.” — Read it from AP via The Times of Northwest Indiana

Drug Resistance Doesn’t Just Come From Farms

Critics have long said that the use of antibiotics on farms to keep animals like chickens, pigs and cattle healthy or make them grow faster was among the biggest contributors to drug resistance in humans. But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control ranks different drug-resistant microbes, and finds that the most urgent threats come from infections that have emerged from hospitals because of the heavy use of antibiotics there. The CDC did say the farm use of antibiotics was part of the problem, but that it isn’t the biggest cause. — Read it at NPR

Blue Whales’ Earwax Reveals Their History

Much like a tree’s rings, the earwax pulled from a deceased blue whale has helped scientists figure out its life history in 6-month increments. But the technique described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists allows researchers to do more than determine a whale’s age. They also show when the whale may have gone through a period of having abundant food, when a male’s testosterone level spiked, marking sexual maturity, and when it was exposed to certain contaminants. The presence of some pollutants can give clues to humans’ long-term affects on the ocean, the researchers said. "These types of marine mammals that are long-lived have a great ability to accumulate contaminants, and so they’re often perceived as being sentinels of their ecosystem," said study coauthor Sascha Usenko of Baylor University in Texas. — Read it at the Los Angeles Times

The panda cub at the National Zoo gets her first full veterinary exam.
Courtney Janney, National Zoo
The panda cub at the National Zoo gets her first full veterinary exam.

Panda Cub Gets First Full Exam

It’s rare for giant panda mom Mei Xiang to put her baby girl down for even a few moments. So when she left her 3-1/2-week-old cub on Tuesday afternoon to get a drink and a bite to eat, officials at the National Zoo seized the opportunity to give the little one her first full veterinary exam. Vets haven’t been able to get their hands on the baby bear since she was two days old. Since then, she’s more than doubled in weight to about 2 pounds, and is starting to show her distinctive black and white coloring. The cub was returned to the den with a clean bill of health before Mei got back. The mama bear immediately picked up her cub and started grooming her. “Mei Xiang continues to be a great mom, as she was with Tai Shan, and it shows,” said Brandie Smith, a senior curator of mammals at the zoo. — Read it from the National Zoo

Black Cat Takes the Cover of “Real Simple”

A beautiful black cat is the cover girl for the October issue of Real Simple magazine. But how easy was it to get Tajari to sit in a carved pumpkin and pose for the cameras? Thankfully, the Bombay cat is naturally tolerant and easy going. Photographer Stephen Lewis worked quickly with the supermodel to get a shot of her piercing eyes for the Halloween edition of the magazine before she had enough of the paparazzi and jumped out of the prop. — Read it at People Pets

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